27 Mar 2016

California Chrome wins world's richest race

11:41 am on 27 March 2016

California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, sprinted to victory in the $10-million Dubai World Cup, beating Mubtaahij in the world's richest horse race.

California Chrome and jokey Victor Espinoza after winning the Dubai World Cup.

California Chrome and jokey Victor Espinoza after winning the Dubai World Cup. Photo: AFP

Trained by Art Sherman, the 15-8 joint favourite won the 2,000-metre race by 3.75 lengths, despite Espinoza having to battle with a slipping saddle during the ride.

"He likes to run clear of his horses, he doesn't like to be bumped around. Victor knows him, he did a super job," trainer Sherman told reporters after the race at the 60,000-capacity Meydan racecourse.

Hoppertunity came third of the 12 runners in the contest.

"We've come across a superstar on the dirt, as California Chrome is - fantastic, and I am honoured to run second to him," Mubtaahij's trainer Mike de Kock said in televised comments.

A switch to a dirt track last year has helped to attract U.S. horses to the event. Eight of the 12-horse field were American this year.

De Kock told reporters that he was still optimistic about runner-up Mubtaahij, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.

"He certainly is not a horse that I want to give a break to now, he's a horse that I want to keep on with," he said.

Chrome, who was the favourite last year but came a surprise second, has been in Dubai for more than two months, whereas last year he arrived just 10 days before the race.

The five-year-old is owned by California Chrome LLC and is also the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion.